TACKLING LIFE AFTER THE GRAVE
By Winston Sibanda
In this 21st century technological and cultural evolution, funerals have evolved with time into fashion extravaganzas as well as big fairs.
As much as this might be the case in the African context, belief in the after-life is diverse.
According to Bhekizenzo Dlamini, “We as Zulus we believe that when one dies he goes to join the ancestral family after all the rituals are performed. This family is the one that links us to God since all is in the spirit.”
According to Dlamini, Africans have big funerals since they believe everyone should get a chance to mourn and pay their last respectß. This is the reason behind the weekend burials amongst the Zulus.
South Africa is diverse in culture as well as religion. According to Andrea Allock who is a middle aged white woman, people bury their loved ones according to their beliefs.
As a christian, Allock believes that the notion of heaven and earth is here on earth. She said she believes that when one diverts from the ways of God he is already in hell and when he is living according to the expectations of christianity he is in heaven.
Allock said, when a loved one passes on he is no more. His body goes back to dust and the spirit goes back to where it originated from.
According to her religion, a memorial service or mass is held at church before the burial and the coffin does not get opened. She believes its not necessary for everyone to do body viewing.
She said, “Body viewing is essential to the human mind. It is necessary for close family so that they can come to terms with the lose. It is not necessary for everyone to view the deceased.”
Christians have different beliefs and interpretations of life after death.
According to Dale munatswa from the Johane Masowe Echishanu apostolic sect, once a person dies he goes straight to judgment. His works on earth determine whether he goes to heaven or hell.
Moslems believe when a person is about to pass on the angel of death comes to take their soul.
According to Rufayda Mino Mohammed droplets of holy water are dropped into the deceased’s mouth to ease the soul.
The body is washed and buried on the same day.
She said, “We believe that when God calls someone, he should be there as soon as possible.”
According to her, two angels Munka and Nakeer come to interrogate the deceased about his faith, but there is a cute gentleman who is always attached to the body whose duty is to take the body to God
She said the handsome man is the Quar’an which the deceased would have read and absorbed during his life.
After the interrogation the handsome man arranges silk bedding filled with musk and the final judgment is before Allah.
As much as there is diversity of cultures and beliefs one common thing about life after death is judgment and the final resting place. And as diverse as cultures might be they all believe there is a God somewhere.